Give this a try. Google personalizes search results to individual searchers so the results of your test won’t perfectly scale up to all the possible real-world searches, but it will provide you with an idea of where you stand and where you want be.
Keywords You Should Be Winning
Write down five keyword phrases you feel that your website should absolutely be found for other than branded terms like your company name or product names. Be specific. If you sell regionally, include your region. If your product addresses a specific need, describe it. For example, “monitoring software” is too general because it doesn’t describe what’s being monitored. “Network monitoring software” would be much better, but one could even go further and add more descriptors such as “free”, “home” or “open source”.
Type Them Into Google
Perform your search and look at the first page of the search results. Are you one of the top three search results? If not, are you elsewhere in the search results?
If your website is not on the first page, ask yourself if your website has content relevant to this search. If it does, why isn’t it showing up? If you don’t have relevant content, and the keyword phrase is truly important, then you’ve just isolated content that needs to be created. After all, you’ve got to have content about a topic if you wish to be found for that topic.
Are your competitors doing better than you in the search results? If so, you’ll need to find out what they’re doing right so you can act to better compete against them.
Does the search results page feature ads either above the normal results, or along the side? Are your competitors advertising there? If they are, they’ve likely done the math and consider it a good investment. You should consider throwing your hat in the ring as well; otherwise they’re getting visitors that you could be getting.
Does the first page search results page feature any Google+ page results? If so, is your Google+ page listed there? Are your competitors? If you own a local business, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a properly setup Google+ for local business page so you can be featured prominently in this scenario.
Happy With Your Result?
For the searches where you are on the first page, read your website’s search result listing. Do you feel the wording is relevant? Do you feel it will compel people to click on it? Is it more compelling than the other search results?
What specific web page are people being brought to within your search result? Is it the page you’d expect? Is it the best page on your website for your target audience to land on? Does this page satisfy their search and provide them with an excellent experience? Will they likely do what you’d like them to do, such as making a purchase or providing their contact info?
Improving Your Result
If you found deficiencies in your website’s SEO performance, they need to be discussed with your team. There may well be legitimate reasons for what you’re seeing, and that can be part of the conversation. If there truly are problems, shedding light on them opens up the possibility for generating ideas on how to overcome them. If you don’t have in-house SEO staff to handle this, consider getting outside help. A SEO expert can look at your SEO check, further develop the keyword list, conducting searches in a way that isn’t influenced by Google’s personalization of search results. This evaluation will provide you with a much better idea of your website’s SEO performance, and from there you can create a roadmap to get to where you want to be.
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